Impressions of Distance Learning #2
By Karen McLaughlin February 24, 1995

By now, I think we're all feeling more comfortable with the video technology. I find it interesting that we tend to talk more when Howard is on our side of the camera, but I think this is primarily due to his role as a facilitator. It's still difficult to get Howard's attention when he's in Michigan because he can't see the entire room at Berkeley. Anyone who wants to speak in Berkeley has to keep their hand up for a long time because once the camera focuses on you, if you drop your hand, George moves the camera! And if the camera is focused on one person, Howard has no idea how many other people want to talk. Perhaps we should experiment with having Natalie act as facilitator on our side when Howard's in Michigan. Her role would be to line up Berkeley speakers and let Howard know who wants to talk.

Now that I have a home page up, I think I can begin to focus more on the course substance. But I also feel the competitive urge to constantly improve my home page (the bug has bitten) now that it's out there for everyone to see! I've talked to other people (my husband included) who've taken classes similar in subject to this class but without the technical component. I'm glad to be pushed to experience the WWW and to learn html, but the class focus is less theoretical as a result. I predict that any class undertaking a distance learning project will become fixated on the technology inititally, but that the focus will shift more and more quickly as distance learning becomes more prevalent.

I enjoyed hearing the library science perspective on the West Publishing issue. I think we're all beginning to feel more comfortable sharing our unique perspectives. I'm also finding our geographical perspectives interesting. It reminds of how local issues can often set the tone for how we perceive broader issues. This is important to remember in politics as well as our personal relationships. Personal experiences with issues are generally more convincing than generalized statistics.